Rohit Kumar's Views

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Shocking revelations

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An audiotape doing the rounds in the cyber world has taken the country by storm. One of the country’s top anchors and a prominent journalist, Hamid Mir, while talking to an alleged Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) member, made shocking comments about various things. A transcript of the conversation was published in this newspaper yesterday. The conversation took place a few days before Khalid Khawaja, a former ISI official, was killed last month by a militant group going by the name of the ‘Asian Tigers’. Some are speculating if Mir’s indiscretions played a role in Khawaja’s murder.

There should be a thorough investigation into the matter by the security agencies. It should first be ascertained whether it was actually Hamid Mir or an impersonator on the audiotape. If it is indeed a genuine transcript, Mir’s credentials should come under the scanner. Considering the fact that Mir is a very influential TV anchor, it comes as a surprise that he seems to be involved in murky areas where most journalists fear to tread. Being an investigative journalist does make one come in contact with militant groups so as to get exclusive scoops, but it does not give a journalist the right to incite violence and hatred. If these charges are proved against Mr Mir, he could attract the mischief of the Army Act and Pakistan Penal Code for aiding and abetting terrorists who have declared war on the state of Pakistan and against whom our forces are fighting and dying. These are serious charges and should be dealt with accordingly.

When asked by the unidentified man who Khawaja was working for, Mir opined that he was working for the CIA and not the ISI. He then went on to strengthen his allegation by citing incidents from the past and how close Khawaja was to former CIA chief William Casey and a character called Mansoor Ejaz. Mir alleges that Ejaz could have been an Israeli agent since he tried to persuade Benazir Bhutto to recognise Israel when she was in power. Mir is already on record as having written that Khawaja led a “highly complex underworld life, as a mediator, sometimes on behalf of the Americans, a power-broker, a mover and shaker”. In the audiotape, Mir discloses that Khawaja wanted him to arrange a meeting with Kashmiri mujahideen leader Syed Salahuddin, but he did not because of Khawaja’s links with the Indian government. Mir also implicates Khawaja in the Laal Masjid case and hints that the reason Maulana Abdul Rashid Ghazi opted for death was to wipe out the humiliation of his brother fleeing the mosque wearing a burqa. Mir talks about his friendship with PML-N member Javed Ibrahim Paracha, who is alleged to have spread sectarian terrorism in Kohat and has links to al Qaeda and other terrorist outfits.

Apart from Mir’s conspiracy theories about Khawaja being an agent of the CIA, India and Israel, the most horrifying aspect was to hear Mir spewing venom against the Ahmedis in the audiotape. He alleged that Khawaja was a “Qadiyani agent” and said, “I personally believe that Qadiyanis are worse than the kuffar (infidels)”. The Ahmedis are already a persecuted community in Pakistan and such views by a prominent journalist would put them in further danger. There is already a lot of intolerance because of the extremist mindset that prevails in our society. When such a prominent television commentator and anchor makes such comments, his journalistic ethics must be questioned. These days many anchors and journalists are challenging the credibility of the government, but one must now interrogate their own credibility. It is hoped that the media group Hamid Mir works for would, in its wisdom, distance itself from Mir. Not only has Mir acted in a criminal manner, he has violated all professional ethics as well. Mir must be taken to task so that the people of Pakistan are not misled by his ilk in the future. *

Dying without a voice

It is a sad day indeed when the plight of the common man becomes so tragic and desperate. The Chief Minister’s (CM) complaint cell, established to hear and act upon the grievances of the public, has found itself in rather unforgivable hot water. Mehmood Akhtar, a 50-year-old resident of Faisalabad, set himself on fire and succumbed to his injuries outside the cell’s Model Town office, due to an agonising lack of intervention on part of the CM to address his woes. In this age of unprecedented inflation and mass frustration because of it, Mehmood went back and forth for some financial assistance and allotment of a small house in Faisalabad, first to 7-Club Road and then to the complaint cell. He was jostled to and fro with an application letter that was forwarded to the Faisalabad District Coordinating Officer (DCO) Faisalabad, which was then rejected by unconcerned officials.

On arriving at the complaint cell on Friday, he was harassed and physically abused by security personal who would not let him register his plaint. With no other option, he set himself on fire. For the poor and unconnected, death seems increasingly the only solution.

What is the point of setting up a complaint cell Mr CM – amidst much hurrahing and self-congratulatory pats on the back – when you refuse to entertain those who need you the most? It is well known that only those who possess the means and highly regarded references are allowed to step into the confines of the complaint cell. The office bearers, who are so discriminate in their dealings, must be held accountable for a death that is being registered by the police as a suicide no less. That is equivalent to taking the man out of the morgue and hanging him! It is the officials who did not entertain this man’s dejection who should be hauled up and asked why patronage and privilege are the only voices that are heard.

To now hear PML-N party chief Nawaz Sharif take note and announce ‘compensation’ for the family is sad and laughable. Would it not have been easier to hear Mr Akhtar’s problem and have it sorted out instead of becoming responsible for a man’s suicidal despair?

Mehmood Akhtar is, unfortunately, just a bitter reminder of the general malaise that has afflicted a society ‘served’ by indifferent and callous representatives. *

Written by rohitkumarsviews

May 17, 2010 at 11:39 am

Taliban take exception to audiotape

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ISLAMABAD: The Taliban Media Centre issued a press release on behalf of Asian Tigers on Sunday commenting on the audiotape issued by, what it alleged, was some secret agency of Pakistan.

Following is the text of the press release: “We actively condemn the reliability of this tape since there was no conversation like that between us and Mr Hamid Mir. “Although we have talked with many different persons of media, it is very often and there is no doubt that they are not involved with us. This seems to be a conspiracy to destroy the reputation of Mujahideen and the brave people of this country who want to bring truth in front while revealing the dark faces of this nation.

“Suppose, this audio tape can be accepted as a true one, then it is also demanded that the video tapes of Sherry Rehman, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Salmaan Taseer should also be treated as the same degree. Since sexy pictures of Salmaan Taseer’s daughter and sons are on media, so can any one tell the nation how a loose character person can be a governor of a province? What action should government agencies take? Why they are delaying?

“Unfortunately, the secret agencies of Pakistan are directly opposing the nation benefits and trying to sabotage the well reputed personalities and institutions for the greater interest of their own. We also like to remind the fake movie, released to media for defacing the actual goodwill of Mujahideen in Swat. That was proved to be faked later but on its basis, the Army did the brutal assault/operation in the whole area. Now people of this country must understand that Mujahideen are not their enemies but the government, politicians and military bureaucrats are the real enemies of this nation.

“Also it is demanded by us that all the relevant records of phone calls between us and the major media representatives should be released for public persuasion. Asian Tigers had proved for their satisfaction that’s why they kidnapped Khalid Khwaja. We contacted the Asian Tigers on this matter and they denied any kind of connections with either Hamid Mir or any other person related to media. They also condemn the fake audio tape. Also they demanded the actual agencies who bring this tape. If these agencies have any kind of proof, then they need to bring it in front. Who forced Asian Tigers to kidnap Khalid Khwaja and Colonel Imam with Asad Qureshi? What was the role of Gen Hameed Gul and Gen Aslam Beg? Where you fit Ibrahim Paracha and Shah Abdul Aziz. Either Gen Hameed Gul and Gen Aslam Beg are the actual Punjabi Taliban or this tape is fake one. Ibrahim Paracha is also the CIA agent and Shah Abdul Aziz is a double agent of Xe and ISI.

“If Mr Hamid Mir attracted or give instructions to Asian Tigers in order to kidnap Khalid Khwaja, then they must have conversations more than once. These tapes should also be published for media. Are we right in demanding this action? If Mr Hamid Mir gave proof to Asian Tigers, then he also gave instructions to them for kidnapping Khalid Khwaja & company. We expect that very soon these tapes should also be available on Internet and Youtube. By the way what exactly the dates of this tape is.

“Secondly, who gave the authority to PTCL or any government agency to tape a phone prior to any court order. By doing this, PTCL is also establishing it’s reputation as an ally of terrorists (Govt of Pakistan, ISI and Army). If this happened again, then PTCL should ready to get the most suitable answer in proper manner. Although, we know how PTCL was sold to these culprits and Khwaja was also involved in that deal. Do you want to raise the curtain?

“PTCL should clear its position in order to bring the facts if this tape is true or fake. If they claim it is a true tape, then they should also give explanation why they tape these calls. If this is the fake one, then they should also take legal actions against that agency. “If PTCL will not take any action, then no problem, we are here and you have a very little time for confession.